Defendant collapses in court; drug testing ordered - Albuquerque Journal

Defendant collapses in court; drug testing ordered

A Gallup man convicted of DWI homicide was taken to a hospital after collapsing in court minutes before he was to be sentenced, prompting a judge to delay the proceeding but also to order that the man be tested for drugs and alcohol.

Matthew Vargas, 24 faces up to 15 years in prison when he is eventually sentenced on his April conviction for homicide by vehicle involving DWI in a 2017 head-on wreck that killed Ernest Baker, 59, the Gallup Independent reported.

After Vargas collapsed Friday and complained of pain while being taken to an ambulance, state District Judge Robert Aragon postponed the sentencing but said it will be rescheduled as soon as possible.

The judge also granted a prosecutor’s request for drug and alcohol testing to find out if they were involved in Vargas’ collapse. That’s appropriate given the nature of Vargas’ offense, said prosecutor Brett Barnes, a state assistant attorney general.

Defense attorney Val Whitley said Vargas might be on “too many medications” due to his medical condition and would likely to test positive for prescribed pain killers.

“Everything is documented that he’s taking,” Whitley said.

Vargas’ sentencing previously had been delayed three times.


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

Nativo Sponsored Content

taboola desktop

MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS

1
City Council denies $110 million facilities plan
ABQnews Seeker
New bonds included in package would ... New bonds included in package would have taken 19 years to pay off
2
Pryor's buzzer beater in OT gives NMSU heated win ...
ABQnews Seeker
Nate Pryor's overtime buzzer beater gave ... Nate Pryor's overtime buzzer beater gave NSMU a win over rival UNM in front of 13,019 fans in the Pit before emphatically celebrating on ...
3
Emptying the Notebook: Aggie/Lobo rivalry is heated again
ABQnews Seeker
Here are some extra notes, quotes, ... Here are some extra notes, quotes, stats, video and whatever else I could empty out of the old notebook after Monday's overtime thriller between ...
4
NMSU nursing student sings national anthem in Diné Bizaad
ABQnews Seeker
Vanisha Sam hopes to work closely ... Vanisha Sam hopes to work closely with the Navajo people and help impact the community via health care
5
Woman tries to set fire to the Islamic Center
ABQnews Seeker
Mosque officials believe she also tried ... Mosque officials believe she also tried to start a fire inside the center on Nov. 7
6
NM tourism leaders seek $55M from lawmakers to help ...
ABQnews Seeker
New Mexico tourism leaders are requesting ... New Mexico tourism leaders are requesting $55 million from lawmakers during the special legislative ...
7
New Mexico could see snow, gusty winds
ABQnews Seeker
Snow levels will move to lower ... Snow levels will move to lower elevations in central and northern NM as Friday progresses
8
Virtual lecture on events 80 years ago
ABQnews Seeker
Event will focus on America's entry ... Event will focus on America's entry into the war, the New Mexicans who died and events surrounding the 52 subs lost in the war
9
Man charged after police say he grabbed bus steering ...
ABQnews Seeker
Resulting crash injured several passengers; driver ... Resulting crash injured several passengers; driver is in critical condition